To Watch Her Dance


The discipline of ballet is often overlooked. The strength combined with the fluidity and grace of movement should be viewed without effort and appear so. The ballerina and danseur have precise and gaged motion to convey a language absent of words. The elongation of the ballerina adds to the delicate vision; but true to the performer, she has power that is wrapped in softness that explodes in a single jump.

My daughter is a company dancer and dancing in her final performance of the Nutcracker tonight. She has danced since she was four, and I can remember every performance from her little ballet flats on her little feet, as she turned in circles to a scratchy recording of Motzart’s Idomeneo, to her pointe performance of Danse des incroyables et merveilleuses. Many people do not understand ballet, or the arts in general for that matter, but through the years I have learned to appreciate the skill and talent of the dancers. When my ballerina moves across the floor, it is the journey that captivates me. Lost in her story, I always lose the battle of my tearless gender and my eyes water. Weeks and months of dancing, stretching, and rehearsing are released in a single performance.

My ballerina captured my heart when I saw her for the first time. I held her in the delivery room, and she touched my nose, squeaking with a crooked smile that poured into deep dimples. Tonight she jumps into the arms of her danseur for a lift, and I will again recall all of the times she asked me to lift her in the air. I could sit for eternity and watch her dance. It is not the act of dancing as much as it is the display of her love for the art and bravery of performance. This is only a place in time, and I know that it will end soon. My memories are forever, with film and photograph for reinforcement. At the end of tonight’s performance, I will be reminded of Edwina Reizer’s words:


To dance, to dance
at every given chance.
To hear the applause
and hear them call her name.
And so the ballerina
standing on her toes
so graceful and dainty
is awed as she does hear.
‘Bravo, bravo,
bravo, my dear.’

image2 Bravo, my ballerina. I love you.

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